Stimulate the immune system, a pathway to treat Alzheimer’s ?

With 900,000 people affected in France, the Alzheimer’s disease is a real scourge of society

And if our own immune system could help restore some cognitive functions, including memory? It is the hope generated by the results of our research group in a project conducted in collaboration with the Institute of the brain and the spinal cord, ICM. Treat a disease by acting on our own defense system, the immune system, it is the concept of immunotherapy.

Our immune system is in charge of the protection of our body against viruses or bacteria, but also in the face of all that threatens the balance of our body, such as cancer cells.

In some cases, the immune system is overwhelmed or disoriented and can’t fight effectively against the disease. It is there that intervenes the immunotherapy, whose efficacy has already been shown in some cancers or autoimmune diseases. Selectively stimulate certain players in the immune system may as well make it again capable of responding effectively to the elements that put us in danger. This type of treatment could also represent a real hope for neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a slow degeneration of the neurons, the result of the progression of two types of lesions due to the accumulation of proteins in the pathological, In fact, this disease is characterized by a slow degeneration of the neurons, the result of the progression of two types of lesions due to protein accumulation pathologic: on the one hand, a peptide resulting in the formation of “amyloid plaques” and, on the other hand, the abnormal forms of the protein Tau aggregating in neurons. The gradual accumulation of these lesions alter the functionality and survival of neurons, the origin of the symptoms caused by the disease, including loss of memory.

” What happens in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients? Since the last fifteen years, clinical trials of immunotherapy conducted against Alzheimer’s disease have sought to eliminate or neutralize specifically the proteins pathological responsible for the damage, in order to protect the neurons. Unfortunately, no satisfactory result has yet been obtained at present and even therapies, the most promising proved to be without major effect on the loss of memory. Use the system immunitaireLes things are actually more complex in Alzheimer’s disease. While immune responses beneficial trying to eliminate the proteins pathological seem initially to be put in place, they end up drifting into a reaction chronic inflammatory in the brain, which helps to amplify the neurodegenerative process. The approach that we develop is based on a strategy of immunomodulation. It is not a question of directly targeting proteins in the pathological leaders of the lesions but modulate the immune system to reorient to the benefit of the response in neuro-inflammatory that develops in the brain during the disease course and contribute to its evolution. We were able to highlight that a specific population of immune cells regulates neuroinflammatory mechanisms developing in the course of the disease. Our recent work conducted in the mouse show that the amplification of these cells using low doses of interleukin-2, a molecule also of the immune system, modulates certain aspects of the inflammatory response in the brain and delays the onset of memory disorders, without a direct link with the elimination of pathogenic proteins. Following these results, our goal is to set up a clinical trial in humans to test the efficacy of this approach. The injection of interleukin-2 in low doses has already been tested in different clinical protocols, including bone marrow transplants, diabetes, auto-immune or lupus, and is well tolerated in patients.

This approach thus appears as a new track promising therapeutic in Alzheimer’s disease. For more information: “The disease alzeimher: what is happening? What are the warning signs? Big Bang Health, Maison de la Chimie in Paris, on October 26, 2017, from 8: 30 to 19 hours ” check out the 2nd edition 2017 .

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